“E-commerce with Chinese characteristics”

I think you could open a very active blog dedicated solely to the subject of scams in China. This piece on click-fraud tells how Baidu is employing legions of ad-clickers to puff up the numbers, raising serious questions about whether the company, lavishly praised in the media as the Chinese search engine that triumphed over Google, can be taken seriously. It comes to a sobering conclusion:

So you see, with an entire system that’s basically open to temptation, you have desperate salesmen clicking furiously away in their offices. So this is what E-commerce with Chinese Characteristics is all about. Count us out….

And, we have to ask — is this surprising in a country known for everything from fake Pradas and Guccis to fake eggs and even fake milk powder (which killed a few babies!)?

No, I’m afraid it’s not surprising.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

My favorite “Chinese fakes” stories from recent years …

One of the most puzzling was the fake eggs sold in many places in China, even exported to Vietnam. Some organization went through all of the trouble of figuring out how to produce convincing fake eggshells that contained some egg-like matter. You have to wonder, was the profit margin of manufacturing fake eggs really that much greater than just opening a chicken farm and selling the real article?

During the last couple of years, Chinese “entrepreneurs” created an entire fake NEC corporation in China, including a fake headquarters and fake branch offices around the country. The company used fake NEC paperwork, with work orders convincing enough to “fool” dozens of Chinese factories into producing for them. The fake NEC products were sold around the country. The best part was that the fake NEC had actually commissioned product research and introduced “new” “NEC” products which the Japanese company said were actually pretty-well designed.

My other favorite fake story happened last year in Shanghai, when a fake orchestra and ballet troup performed at Shanghai Grand Theater. They were supposed to perform four acts, but the curtain never came up after the second act. The orchestra and dancers had fled. Many angry patrons refused to leave the theater until management could explain what happened. The story I read in the Shanghai Daily was unclear about who the performers really were or exactly why they left in such haste mid-performance, but at least they were apparently good enough to fool the audience for two acts.

So many things in China are improving so rapidly — even then quality of the fakes. Maybe we should take it as a good sign that fake Chinese operations are sometimes good enough to compete with the originals. Once they get their marketing chops down, maybe they can drop the masquerade and just compete legitimately. With these elaborate fake operations, I can’t but wonder if the difference in profitability is really all that much greater than running a legitimate operation.

December 2, 2006 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

There are even fake “law firms” in China. They advertise IP filings and corporate registrations one day and then are gone the next. Some are quite convincing.

December 4, 2006 @ 12:42 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.